On Righteous Government

Quotes on Righteous Government:

Founding Fathers:

“In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its faults, — if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people, if well administered; and I believe, farther, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.”
Benjamin Franklin

“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Benjamin Franklin

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Benjamin Franklin

“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
John Adams

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”
Patrick Henry

Social Commentator Lysander Spooner:

“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”
Lysander Spooner, No Treason VI: The Constitution of No Authority

“That no government, so called, can reasonably be trusted, or reasonably be supposed to have honest purposes in view, any longer than it depends wholly upon voluntary support.”
Lysander Spooner

“A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.”
Lysander Spooner

Scriptural References:

4 And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.
5  And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
6  Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
7  And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.
8  I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.
9 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.
10 Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.

Doctrine and Covenants 98: 4-10

12 Now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just.
13 Therefore, if it were possible that you could have just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments, yea, if ye could have men for your kings who would do even as my father Benjamin did for this people—I say unto you, if this could always be the case then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you.
14 And even I myself have labored with all the power and faculties which I have possessed, to teach you the commandments of God, and to establish peace throughout the land, that there should be no wars nor contentions, no stealing, nor plundering, nor murdering, nor any manner of iniquity;
15 And whosoever has committed iniquity, him have I punished according to the crime which he has committed, according to the law which has been given to us by our fathers.
16 Now I say unto you, that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you.
17 For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction!
18 Yea, remember king Noah, his wickedness and his abominations, and also the wickedness and abominations of his people. Behold what great destruction did come upon them; and also because of their iniquities they were brought into bondage.
19 And were it not for the interposition of their all-wise Creator, and this because of their sincere repentance, they must unavoidably remain in bondage until now.
20 But behold, he did deliver them because they did humble themselves before him; and because they cried mightily unto him he did deliver them out of bondage; and thus doth the Lord work with his power in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him.
21 And behold, now I say unto you, ye cannot dethrone an iniquitous king save it be through much contention, and the shedding of much blood.
22 For behold, he has his friends in iniquity, and he keepeth his guards about him; and he teareth up the laws of those who have reigned in righteousness before him; and he trampleth under his feet the commandments of God;
23 And he enacteth laws, and sendeth them forth among his people, yea, laws after the manner of his own wickedness; and whosoever doth not obey his laws he causeth to be destroyed; and whosoever doth rebel against him he will send his armies against them to war, and if he can he will destroy them; and thus an unrighteous king doth pervert the ways of all righteousness.
24 And now behold I say unto you, it is not expedient that such abominations should come upon you.

Mosiah 29: 12-24

Any others you would like to add?  Please post them in the comments section below.

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13 responses to “On Righteous Government

  1. I do not believe any government of man, other than what Han Hermann-Hoppe termed “Natural Order”, that will not become tyrannical.

    As La Boetie stated in his “The Politics of Obedience”,
    “Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.”

    To me, this is like personal secession. Anarchy.

  2. Mises defined autarchy as self-sufficiency (such as a family farm producing all necessities) as opposed to an international division of labor. But I can live with LeFevre’s definition as well.

  3. Walter Block called this the “Republic of One” on one of his radio snippets with Lew Rockwell. Everyone being their own “republic”. 🙂

  4. I listened to that show and enjoyed it very much. The idea is that the more “republics” the smaller they will be and the more they will have to engage in the international division of labor and free trade.
    With an idea as great as this, who needs government?

  5. David Mitchell

    Unfortunately, we, every one of us, are not islands. We live in a society and we have a government. To not support it is to what? . . . Not pay taxes? Try that and see where it will get you.

    I believe that all government by others, to the extent that it is necessary, is a necessary evil. But I do not suggest that our modern society could exist without any government . . . as opposed to the nation-state. (See Albert Jay Nock’s book, “Our Enemy the State.) However, we have allowed, yes, we, “the people”, have allowed the government to get too large and instrusive.

    Unfortunately, most people think that it is indispensable, because most people are busy with their lives and want to trust those that they have elected to represent them. They are ignorantly blind. And, as said in the Declaration of Independence, “all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

    Our government is so much more corrupt and evil than that of King George III as to be unbelieveable, yet “the people” put up with it, because of their ignorance and because, for the most part, they are well-fed and well entertained. Bread and circus works!

  6. A necessary evil is still evil and is not necessary (see “Chaos Theory” by Robert Murphy or “The Voluntary City”, or look up “Agorism”)

    What if they called a war and no one showed up?
    What if the majority resisted theft? (taxation)?
    What if one voted with their feet and their dollars and took them where both were respected?

    One has to ask oneself, “when will I stop supporting tyranny?”

    One must thoughtfully consider withdrawal of “sanction of the victim”

  7. We could use some more Patrick Henry’s:

    “Give me liberty or give me death!” – Patrick Henry

  8. “Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We WANT them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against – then you’ll know that this is not the age of beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one MAKES them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens?
    What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

    (Page 406 of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand).

  9. David Mitchell

    Government is evil because people are corruptable and rich people are willing to corrupt legislators in order to get what they want.

    What if they called a war and no one showed up? The Viet Nam war (excuse me, police action, Congress did not declare it a war) was about as close as we will ever get to that, and most of those young men went like sheep to the slaughter.

    The Oregon Trail, in the 1800’s was about far from government and government control as one could get. It has been estimated, from diaries, first person accounts, and other evidence that the murder rate on the Oregon Trail exceeded that of New York City in, say, 1980.

    If there were no government, then it would be every man and women for themselves. The bad guys would do what they wanted, which would lead to the vigilance committees (groups of honest, hard working citizens) who would go after the bad guys, as they did in San Fancisco in the 1800’s, and execute them (otherwise you need a jail and a jailer). Of course, some of the executed weren’t bad guys at all. So then, they decided to have a police force and courts and laws and defense lawyers, and so forth.

    The main purpose of a government, as instituted by the Founding Fathers, was to protect the rights of citizens. The farther in time from the Founding Moment we went, the more corrupt the legislators became and the more rights of the citizens were violated until, today, we have a completely unconstitutional government (states, too). Yet the people are not willing to do what is necessary to change the situation.

    How did the colonists throw off the chains of tyranny? By bloody, violent revolution. I would hate to see that today. And, by the way, not all the colonists wanted to break free from England by any means.

    The only non-violent way to throw off the present chains of tyranny is by voting the whores out of Congress, each and every one of them. But, when a large portion of the people are still looking to the whores to help them, so that is not likely to happen. If you want away from what our government has become, perhaps you could move to a remote island . . . but most, if not all, of them are controlled by governments, some of which are worse than ours.

    The end will come when enough people do get fed up and ban together to do something . . . probably something very drastic. And when they do, not if, then the cycle will start all over again. Eventually, the wealthy will control as the wealthy always have.

    But, again, it isn’t government, per se, that is bad. Rather, it is the nation state. A family, a clan, a tribe all have their forms of government. They have ways to control their members and the very meaning of “to govern” is “to control.”

    In our modern society the question is just how much control should the government have? I say little to none, just so long as my behavior does not violate, or immediately and directly threaten to violate the rights of others.

    If anyone is interested in reading a rather lengthy dissertation on that subject (mainly regarding the so-called war on drugs, but applicable to all so-called inalienable rights) you can go to http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com. That is the URL for my political pamphlet “The Myth of Inalienable Rights.”

    • It seems to me that replacing our present form of government with private security, etc would be much more effective, efficient and cost effective; if the main purpose of government is protection from aggression or the threat of aggression. Many people already resort to this system for protection, knowing that the government’s forces do not really protect them.
      Also, with the advent of the likes of the Patriot Act, people have more to fear from the government than any other source.
      BTW, we don’t really know who started the Revolutionary War.

  10. David Mitchell

    Oh, and as to Patrick Henry and his famous statement: I don’t believe he was in any immediate danger of being killed by the English when he said it. That doesn’t prove that he didnt’ mean it, but basically, he was a politician, making a political statement. If he had been seized by the British forces and place up against the wall in front of a firing squad, then given the opportunity to go free if he promised to be a good subject of the King’s, would he then have said, “No. Go ahead and kill me.”?

  11. “I heartily accept the motto, ‘That government is best which governs least’;
    and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically.
    Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe — ‘That
    government is best which governs not at all’; and when men are prepared for it,
    that will be the kind of government which the will have.”
    — Henry David Thoreau
    (1817-1862)
    Source: A Duty of Civil Disobedience [1849]